Cultures of Giving

Energizing and Expanding Philanthropy by and for Communities of Color

The W.K. Kellogg Foundation

January 2012, 112 pages. W.K. Kellogg Foundation, One Michigan Avenue East, Battle Creek, MI 49017-4012, (269) 968-1611, www.wkkf.org

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Cultures of Giving: Energizing and Expanding Philanthropy by and for Communities of Color shows how the face of philanthropy is changing rapidly to become as ethnically, culturally and socio-economically diverse as our country's population, with some of the most significant growth stemming from identity-based philanthropy—a growing movement to spark philanthropic giving from a community on behalf of a community, where "community" is defined by race, ethnicity, gender or sexual orientation.

This report explores current shifts within the philanthropy sector and showcases key learnings, best practices and successful models to promote and enhance philanthropy and giving among communities of color. Among these learnings, the report reveals several factors catalyzing the current evolution of philanthropy:

  • The face of philanthropy is rapidly changing to become as ethnically, culturally and socioeconomically diverse as our country's population.
  • Collective power, action and resources exist within communities of color that conventional philanthropy has not fully recognized, embraced and partnered with to bring about change.
  • Understanding and supporting this emerging area of philanthropy are becoming increasingly essential for any foundation, funder or donor who wants to drive social change.

Historically, communities of color receive a small percentage of mainstream philanthropic dollars despite an often disproportionate need. Yet recent trends show that communities of color are giving at increasing rates and levels. For instance, 63 percent of Latino households now make charitable donations, and blacks give away 25 percent more of their income per year than whites.

"Say the word 'philanthropist,' and most people envision wealthy white do-gooders writing large checks in the millions. In recent years, the definition of philanthropy has begun to broaden to include a larger swath of human generosity, with any-size contributions not just from the wealthy but from people of every income bracket, including nurses, plumbers, hairdressers and civil servants, and growing giving among the black, Latino, American Indian, Arab American and Asian American communities." said WKKF CEO and President Sterling Speirn. "We believe that understanding and supporting this emerging area of philanthropy is essential for any foundation, funder or donor who wants to drive social change."

The report is part of The W.K. Kellogg Foundation's Cultures of Giving program, which began in 2005 to recognize, celebrate and promote philanthropy and giving that has been taking place across communities of color. This report of key learnings and successful models from the program aims to inspire foundations, funders and donors to seek out ways to collaborate with the new faces of philanthropy and shift their practices to reflect what communities of color are teaching us about the future of giving and its potential impact on our country's most vulnerable children and families.

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